Final Four Media Coverage Essay

4814 words - 20 pages

Every spring avid sports fans look forward to the biggest college basketball tournament of the year, most commonly known as March Madness. This competition consists of both men’s and women’s NCAA basketball teams who compete in hopes of making it to the respected and heavily televised Final Four. The Final Four is the last game for each remaining team before the National Championship game, where the two deserving teams are matched up against each other. This series of competition creates a rich supply of content for sports media networks to influence viewer’s values and attitudes. Networks have become increasingly knowledgeable and schematic in using sport entertainment as a way to promote ...view middle of the document...

2009). Although there was rapid growth of female participation in sports over 40 years ago, it is still not reflected in the media coverage given to women. In this paper we analyzed and reviewed 12 scholarly articles and two online websites, ESPN.com and SI.com, to examine the differences in coverage between Men’s and Women’s NCAA basketball tournaments.
Review of Literature
Many Americans today would accept the perspective that the media as a whole and sports coverage specifically, can be socially constructed and crafted in a variety of ways and for a variety of purposes (Cherry 2007). The articles we have examined provide readers with analyses concluding that some of these purposes come at the expense of others, particularly women. The four main points we concluded were most prevalent are the equity of coverage between men and women’s basketball, continuously reinforced hegemonic ideologies, how the interpretations of media attempt to shape society, and commercialization of sport.
After analyzing our articles it is clear that women receive less overall coverage than men do in all various forms of media. The articles we read focus mainly on television networks and the internet’s coverage of NCAA sports. Not only do women receive less coverage, but they fall victims to the reinforced ideology of masculine hegemony. In an article analyzing the differences in commentary coverage of basketball telecasts, it was concluded that the present underlying ideology “historically links the physicality, muscularity, and superiority of males to power and dominance in sports” (Duke 1996). Due to this widely accepted social belief of men and masculinity, an article published by Blinde, Greendorfer, & Shanker (1991)  states they believe that is the underlying reason to why the subtle differences in commentary often “go unnoticed and are rarely challenged or questioned”. These subtle differences are also found and noted in numerous studies that explain them to be sexist, devaluing (Battenfield et al. 2014), and trivializing (Kian et al. 2009). The continual reinforcement of masculine hegemony shapes the vocabulary and topic choices commentators, usually males, discuss when referring to a woman’s athletic performance. This is discussed extensively in two articles which strive to make the point that commentators are continuously minimizing a females’ performance by comparing it to that of their male counterpart, describing them as more of a supportive role rather than a serious athlete, and by putting an emphasis on their personal and/or emotional lives (Kian et al. 2009).
While most of the recurring themes throughout our 12 articles seemed to coincide with each other, one article contested these widely accepted beliefs. This was done analyzing two internet websites as it remains “contested gender terrains” (Coakley 2009). The article focuses on challenging hegemonic masculinity by providing readers with a study where a total of 249 articles from ESPN.com...

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